Lagos: Port operators across the African nations have decried the high level of piracy and terrorist activities across the continent, noting that these activities are becoming a cankerworm that grossly militate against the growth of ports’ operations. Speaking at the just concluded conference in Arusha, Tanzania, Executive Secretary of Pan African Association of Ports Cooperation (PAPC), Mr. Jerome Ntibarekerwa, explained that piracy endangers port operations so much because of lack of sophisticated equipment to fight it.
According to him, 'Piracy is a serious issue because it affects lives and it endangers port operations so much because of lack of sophisticated equipment to fight it.'
The PAPC boss also emphasized the need for harmonized customs’ reforms, adding that too many customs’ check-points results in unnecessary delay and increased cost that is passed on to the final consumer. He also blamed the prevalence of congestion in most African ports on failure of governments to ensure inter-modal transport system, stressing that poor road facilities and dysfunctional rail lines have grossly hindered the growth of port operations in the region.
In the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ports Authority of South Africa, Mr. Khomotso Phihlela urged African nations to subscribe to Information Technology Companies, and noted that the fight against piracy needs technology and experience. Mr. Khomotso remarked that if the ports must effect service delivery, governments should synthesize their role in the integration of infrastructure.
He however expressed delight that there is now a shift in global economic super powers from the Western world to the East.
The South African Port Authority CEO predicted that by the 2015, China would rise to number one position with Brazil on the 5th position, saying that the explosion in its international law has a tremendous impact on the growth of economy of China.
Khomotso finally noted that the major challenge facing Africa is lack of educational opportunity and poverty, which he said has weakened state of developing countries, as well as, pushed investment to the developed countries.
Earlier in his address, the Director General of Tanzania Ports Authority, Mr. Ephraim Mgawe said the conference was a unique forum for deliberating on critical issues affecting port operations and global maritime industry at large. He extolled the commitments of the managements of African ports for giving the conference a priority attention.
The Tanzanian Minister of Infrastructure and Investment, Hon. Omari Nundu (MP) also commended the participants for finding time to come all the way from their various countries.
He expressed hope that the outcome of the conference would bring about improvements in ports performance to fast-track Africa’s Economic Development.